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Concern CEO appointed to Irish Hunger Task Force

Concern CEO appointed to Irish Hunger Task Force

Tom Arnold, CEO of Concern, has been appointed to the Irish Hunger Task Force by the Minister of State for Irish Aid and Human Rights.

Minister of State for Irish Aid and Human Rights Conor Lenihan has established an Irish Hunger Task Force, which will seek to identify the distinctive contribution Ireland can make to eliminating world hunger. Tom Arnold, CEO of Concern, will be one of the Task Force’s members.

Key objectives

The Task Force, flagged in last year's White Paper on Irish Aid, will be part of Ireland's efforts to achieve the first Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty and hunger by 2015. Minister Lenihan announced the terms of reference of the Task Force with its chairman, former Minister for Agriculture Joe Walsh TD, this morning. 

Ireland’s role

Mr Arnold said he was looking forward to joining the Task Force and working again with Mr Walsh, with whom he worked closely in the Department of Agriculture and Food. Mr Arnold continued “I strongly commend the government and Minister Conor Lenihan for taking this initiative. I have believed for a long time that Ireland has a particular legitimacy, because of our famine history, in taking a leadership role in the fight against hunger, the extent of which remains a terrible scandal in today's rich world.”

As a member of the Task Force, Mr Arnold said he was also looking forward to the challenge of, “producing an imaginative programme which would underpin an international leadership role for Ireland”. 

Millennium goals

Mr Arnold was also a member of the UN Millennium Project Task Force set up by the former Secretary General Kofi Annan several years ago: "Our report recommended a strategy which would halve world hunger by 2015, and thereby achieve the first Millennium Development Goal…The Irish Hunger Task Force will, I understand, build on the work of that earlier Task Force and go on to identify how Ireland can play an international leadership.”

Leading by example

Norway, another small country, has built an international reputation for contributing to efforts to prevent and resolve conflict throughout the world. Its government has made this a priority in its foreign policy and its universities, institutes and civil society organisations have developed capacities to contribute both at the level of policy and practical support.

Mr Arnold believes, “that Ireland should harness all its resources North and South and seek to be the Norway of Hunger: that it would play a leadership role in the fight against the continuing scandal of hunger in the world.” He continues: “That this is a legitimate and worthy objective is not in doubt. About 850 million people go to bed hungry every night – about 15 percent of the world’s population. The vast majority suffer from chronic hunger as a result of deep and persistent poverty. The human costs are staggering. Eleven million children under the age of five die each year of starvation and associated diseases – over thirty thousand children die every day on our watch. Hunger and the diseases that follow stunt millions more both physically and mentally.”